>> well, sure, two years ago i offered legislation to allow kids to ride free on the metrobus. >> oh, the buses are working. >> yes. this year, we expanded the program to allow kids to ride free on metro rail. i think many people don't realize this, but we are an urban environment. we have only a school bus that serves a small number of our kids. every other child, either walks to school or catches public transit or is dropped off by a parent. for some children, they're leaving their neighborhood to go to school so they had to pay to get to school.
parents were spending at least $30 a month, kids were riding the bus and even more if they were riding the train. kids ride free on metrobus has been hugely successful in helping families. bottom line cost into the month. that's $30 a month they could put towards extracurricular activities, books for their kids, electronic devices that help with learning. so we want that money to stay in the home. so our school bus is a metrobus. and the rail helps with that as well. >> so you have the one city car? >> yes, all of our kids are eligible for the dc 1 card. it's just a card that i'm sure you have seen before. and they can get it at school. and they -- one thing that we want to remind all our kids, half the cost on the target when they get on the metrobus. that allows us to know how much we're supposed to pay metro. we don't want to pay any more, but we want to pay what they owe. also they have to go through the
no artificial flavors, and no high fructose corn syrup. welcome back to "viewpoint." let's talk about what's troubling you and the city -- the spate of violence has everybody on nerve and scared. it's not the 1980s or the 1990s by any stretch of the imagination, but people are worried. you're going to get more reward money. >> yes. >> to get people to turn in illegal guns or report illegal guns. you're asking the community to do more to help the police solve the crimes. all of that, but this week you were at a press conference in
southeast washington. you told us this week it was one of the saddest things you had to do in your life. not as mayor, but in your life, but to talk to the families and children who are suffering from this violence day in and day out. what did you tell the children and those families? >> well, what i was very -- i was very concerned. any time that you have disputes between children that lead to a deadly accident, not accident in one case it was an accident. in this case it was an intentional act. and we were very concerned about it. and what we learned is that in that community there are a lot of illegal guns. and people know about the illegal guns and they're scared. so when you're mayor, you want to talk to young children full of hope and energy and excitement about the first day of school. not about an act of violence in their neighborhood. i assured them and their parents that this should never be considered a normal day in their life. and we're going to do everything
that we can to change it. >> you have had a lot of conversations with chief lanier. you talked about deployment, a lot of issues to get police out on the streets before the crimes happen, not just after. the police union of course has been quite critical of the police chief. you have stood by her, but the union have been complaining that the chief has consolidated too many squads, the vice squad, the gun squad, all these different things and it's created less on the street presence for officers trying to do intelligence work and get information. do you still stand by the chief? >> well, we have an excellent chief, she has been policing the streets of washington, d.c. for 25 years. and she has a great sense of how to deploy our force. we have a great force too. we want to make sure that the officers have exactly what they need, the resources they need to stay safe as well. and so i hope that everybody resists the temptation any time that we have violence in our
city, we all have to stay focused on how to stop it. everybody wants to know what's the one fix or the one thing that's causing it. and the simple truth is this. is that violence is complicated, we see it in cities around the country right now, a surge in homicides. the chief of police convened big city chiefs here in d.c. to talk about what everybody is seeing. so i want the public to know this. there's not a quick fix and there's not one thing that's wrong. that's why we have to attack all the things. i came out early in the summer to say that we need to be proactive and very serious about synthetic drugs because we don't want them to take a hold in d.c. and that's a very true thing. i'm glad we were so aggressive about it. so we are also aggressive about getting illegal guns out of homes. so people want to say, where are you, where are the guns coming
from? we have guns coming from states all around us being easily transported. so now we have to do what we can do in the district and that's identify where they are and get them off the streets. >> one thing is the city has a police force authorized of about 4,000. >> yes. >> and she told me at one point, every senior officer in her department is eligible to retire just walk out the door and retire. you're like 300 or so officers underneath the 4,000 cap. is there anything you can do to speed up -- you have to train people, they have to have a college degree right now. is there anything you can do to speed up getting officers on the streets? >> at the time that cathy lanier came on the force there was a big hiring -- >> early 1990. >> early 1990s where we retired a lot of police officers and they are eligible for retirement. we learned a lesson in hiring back then, you have to be
careful with hiring. we know that we hired some people that weren't doing the job in the best interest of the district of columbia. we know recruiting and training that people -- that should be out on the street with a badge and a gun, we can handle about 300 a year. so we are fully funded to do exactly that. the other thing that we are doing that i got funded in this year's budget with the council's support and i appreciate that, we want to retain officers. we give our officers the best training and they get picked by the neighboring jurisdictions to come on their forces. >> often for more money. >> often with more money. >> easier jobs? >> maybe closer to where they live. there's a lot of factors but we want our officers to know, we make the commitment, investment in you to train you. we want to keep you here. and so we are going to be offer starting in october incentive
packages to keep our officers in the district of columbia. but there are other things that the chief the considering as well, to make sure that any officer who has an administrative job, a desk job, is actually going to be on the beat. we are making full use of voluntary overtime with our officers as well. so i think the final point i'll make on this, tom, we have enjoyed a great relationship with our officers between community and officers. and -- >> that's the one thing we have not had -- other cities have had, where the community is rising up against its own police force. >> our community loves our police. and we want to send that message clear, they're working hard for us. we want to make sure that we have the resources. sometimes we'll disagree. >> sometimes we have to take a commercial break. >> yes. >> so we'll be right back. stay with us. mayor muriel bowser on "viewpoint."
welcome back to "viewpoint." i'm tom sherwood. our guest this morning, district mayor muriel bowser. in the few pages, the turn of the calendar we'll be in cold weather. with the forecast for even tougher, more bitter cold, lots of snow, how are we doing on preparing for the homeless -- in this city, the law is if it drops under 32 degrees, everyone is entitled to some type of quality shelter. >> yes. so we have been tackling this issue head on and we have committed to doing it in a different way. and made some pretty robust pledges around ending homelessness. veterans homelessness this year which we're on track to do. family homelessness in a couple of years which includes closing the largest family shelter in the district of columbia. >> district of columbia --
>> yeah, old d.c. general. but also looking for pathways to ending chronic homelessness in this city. one thing i learned, everybody is committed to it. they think that in a city that has grown the type of prosperity that we have should have safe and affordable housing for people. so we -- we have put together a great team on september 1st we'll actually submit our winter plan to the interagency council on homelessness. my director is working hand in hand with our partners on the council, but also the advocacy community. we were able to secure record amounts of money to end homelessness in d.c. and we were able to do that because we committed to making some changes and doing things differently. so we will talk about the changes that we need and this september with the council, with our winter plan. but also with our plan to have an eight ward strategy to
replace the emergency housing units at d.c. general. >> and you'll have more wrap around services to help the families find shelter and other places. a lot of people still asking what happened to rely sha rudd, anything new about that? i know that's a heart breaking case for many people. >> it's a heart breaking case. i think as you know the gray administration did a complete review of the issues and issued a set of recommendations. i actually walked through d.c. general with the director this past weekend and my first question is have we implemented all of the rudd recommendations and the answer is yes. >> good. >> so we -- i talked to staff about how we track an account for children at d.c. children. if they're in d.c. general, we need to know where that.
>> don't get lost in the cracks. >> they will not get lost in the cracks and this is our goal 100% of the time. i think you know that we continue to search and that we will continue to do that. >> housing. you often said you can't -- about the housing program. when will people see that? >> every day. because we put out what we call a nofa -- a notice of funding ability for $100 billion. so we inherited a balance in the housing trust fund which our team is issuing every day. but this $100 million is a notice to nonprofit developers and developers to tell us about the projects they're working on so this $100 million can fill the gaps. so we'll make some decisions
welcome back to "viewpoint." we were talking about how the city is doing and metro is not doing well. you have been among the leaders, council members said metro must do better. adam tuss, he wants to know what can you do to get the confidence back? >> we didn't keep up with the maintenance that the system needs. so metro went operational in the mid '70s, it's mid age and it needs constant help and support. so we need to keep up with the investment of metro. let me be really clear.
the metro system is important to how this region grows but also how our city grows, to accommodate the interest on the people moving here and businesses moving here. we have to have an operational metro. so it has had a really, really tough year. and we know it has to get its finances in order. that's why i have advocated that the new general manager has to have a focus on turning around metro finances -- >> a change agent? >> a change agent that going to lead and also be able to tackle the financial issues and build a team that includes the person that can focus on the safety culture of the metro system. and making the critical capital investments that the city needs. >> well, we have a lot of new people in the city, many of them don't have cars and they're coming for jobs and part of the deal to build up the city, keep it moving is business development. >> absolutely. >> you have proposals for that. >> well, we have had an excellent success this year in
talking about the big city projects that are going to help the city move forward. we secured the final deal with d.c. united to make sure soccer stays here in the district. this fall we'll send down to the council the final agreement for the development of walter reed and st. elizabeth's. we are also becoming a city that big business sees as business friendly. that's a good thing. we work hard to keep blackboard in the district of columbia. there are other big businesses that we want. and i passed our economic development team with -- tasked our economic development team by going out to the jurisdictions to look at companies and say you should be here in washington and the response that we're getting is pretty good. >> and you did hire courtney snowden to be your economic development -- we have only a minute left, to make sure that the progress that you talked about, the people on the east side of the river don't just watch it, but are part of it. >> that's right.
you have heard me talk, certainly this 7 1/2 months, and for a lot of time on the campaign trail about how we close gaps in d.c. the prosperity we have build in this city should be spread across the river into neighborhoods that had been underresourced for too many years. our deputy mayor is tasked with looking at education, jobs and workforce training. small business and economic development to help us do that. >> okay. well, you're into the stars of your term. you're going to run again? >> well, this is the best city in the world and i enjoy what we're doing. and we are focused on getting the job done. >> thank you very much for being here today. thanks for talking about all the issues. some good, some not so good. we'll see you around the city. mayor muriel bowser. i'm tom sherwood. have a good day. do you like the passaaadd?
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"news4 today" starts now. >> right now on "news4 today," not one, but two baby pandas calling the national zoo home this morning. we are getting new details in the surprise delivery. >> and will he or won't he? the pop-up meeting indicating vice president joe biden may make a run for the white house. but you could see smoke and fire coming from a metro station today. why they're telling you don't panic. >> on this sunday morning, thanks for joining us. welcome to "news4 today." i'm david culver. >> i'm angie goff. double trouble. >> i know. can you believe it,